Hi, Susan and group. When we learn a foreign language, the first thing we want to do is...speak it. But to speak well we need to learn the basics of pronunciation. Usually there will be a few sounds that are difficult to make, but it is not a major problem...usually.
But when many people start to learn English as a Foreign or Second Language, problems with pronunciation can be almost insurmountable. Many people feel timid or shy when they attempt to speak English.
But with a little bit of practice during every class, mixed in with a good dose of humor, step by step the students improve.
The benefits of learning pronunciation are many. First, of course, students will be able to speak better. But learning pronunciation also helps them to read and to listen also. For example, knowing how to pronounce "tree" versus "three" also helps them hear the difference, and to distinguish the difference in a text. Student confidence likewise improves, I believe.
In any case, you can see my method of teaching pronunciation in my free website, pumarosa.com. Lesson 15 has a few tongue twisters that are useful and...humorous!
Hello Paul, I always appreciate your emphasizing the importance of teaching pronunciation. Indeed, pronunciation is definitely a challenge when learning a language like English that does not have good sound-symbol correspondence. We absolutely need to teach pronunciation explicitly.
I also agree with you that giving learners the opporutnity to practice speaking in a safe environment enhances their confidence. As you note, improving speaking does support learners' listening and reading -- as well as writing. The skills all build on one another.
I would love to hear from members about how they approach teaching pronunciation. Moreover, I wonder if teachers have adjusted their approach to teaching pronunciation since so many of us are now teaching remotely.
Take care, Susan Finn Miller
Moderator, English Language Acquisition CoP